Protests interrupt presentation during Flint water crisis town hall meeting

Audience members crush water bottles in protest

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

FLINT, Mich. - Everybody charged with fixing Flint's water crisis came together Wednesday night for an informational town hall meeting in the latest on lead levels in the water.

The auditorium was packed, and as speakers started presenting, a loud crunching noise could be heard in the crowd. The sound was people crushing water bottles in protest.

People are angry for multiple reasons, but it really annoyed them that there would be no public comment at the meeting. Questions were to be written down and submitted. People wanted the chance to vent at a microphone.

The bottle crunching lasted throughout the four-hour town hall until, finally, some people in the audience started yelling at the panel.

Screams of "you're wasting our time" and "you're just (Michigan Gov. Rick) Snyder's crook" were hurled at the panel. It got to the point that Flint's police chief stepped in and addressed the crowd.

"Friend or no friend, if this happens again, you're going to be out of here," Chief Tim Johnson said.

Despite the screaming, the news from the scientists was good. The last six months of lead testing shows 96.4 percent are below the federal standard of 15 parts per billion.

Legionella, after spiking in 2014 and 2015, is now consistent with numbers in Wayne and Oakland counties.

With all of that said, the EPA is still recommending only using water that comes from faucets with filters on them. There were 300 homes with high lead levels that have had service lines replaced, and the plan is to replace 6,000 of those service lines per year for the next three years.

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